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Artistic insight

I can finally show 'Retrocave', my illustration for art book #EVERYDAYISPLAY by @Gamepaused


Super proud to have this painting included in the stunning coffee table art book "Every Day is Play", now available on

From an early age I've been pretty obsessed with video games, and this painting has several meanings (as well as a bunch of game references - can you spot them all?);

1, It depicts how a single controller (in my case my first time was with a NES) can be a gateway into another world for a highly imaginative kid.

2, It shows how often, when we revisit the things we remember fondly from our past (especially old games), they haven't aged too well and don't live up to the amazing memories we have of them.

The kid dangling from the wire is me in the early 90's at the height of my obsession - a simpler time when games were 2D, all multiplayer was local and the most important thing in a game was how 'cool' the mascot was.  Ahh, good times!

Below are some shots of the book itself;

You can order your own copy from and it's well worth the money.


PSA regarding some recent artwork requests...

I'm getting a lot of people asking for hi-res versions of my Blue Nose Friends scenes for use as a printable mural, canvas print or other products for a baby's nursery.  These might be genuine requests for personal use, but as most of them are similarly worded ("I'd like this for my future child's nursery" etc.), ask for very specific document dimensions and are of South African origin, I have my suspicions as to their sincerity.

So, to clarify, I no longer work for Carte Blanche Greetings and am therefore unable to provide (for free or otherwise) a high resolution version of these images.  You can try your luck directly with the copyright holder at, but they're even less likely to fall for your stories than I am.

If you're a company or individual genuinely seeking to commission a piece of artwork (which doesn't include Tatty Teddy or his Blue Nose Friends) I'm more than happy to discuss this with you (email me at, but please don't pretend to be a parent as a way of obtaining high resolution artwork to use for manufacturing and selling copyright-infringing products.  

It's hard enough for artists to make a living as it is, so to cut financial corners in such a dishonest way is a major jerk move.



Introducing Whittle Mill, plus cover illustration for 'Progressive Greetings' magazine

In January this year my sentiment driven card range for Gemma International, Whittle Mill, launched into Clintons stores nationwide!  It recently featured on the cover of Progressive Greetings, the number one magazine of the UK greetings industry, which was really satisfying to create and see in print.

Whittle Mill is a cute sentimental range centred around two wooden puppets. There’s a sweet little story to accompany them which tells of how, long ago, a couple carved a heart into a tree which sealed their love inside it forever. Years later a branch falls from the tree and is carved into two puppets who, imbued with the love once sealed in the wood, come to life to be reunited.

This range is very much a love letter to my Wife, who inspired the relationship based illustrations as well as the background story (below) and the verse inside—which in its self was a whole new, and very rewarding, experience to write.

The story on the back of every cards reads (get ready for the feels!);

"A long time ago, before you and me,
A happy couple sat under a tree.

Into the bark they each carved a heart,
And swore to each other they never would part.

In leaving the hearts their promise was kept,
And for many years in the wood their love slept.

Then on one windy day a branch snapped and fell,
Landing next to a sculptor, who said with a yell...

“This wood is perfect for the toys I’ve drafted!”
And from the branch two puppets were crafted.

The sculptor examined his work, delighted,
The happy couple at last reunited."

But my illustrations would be nothing on cards without the expert graphic design skills of fellow Gemma creative Adam Martin which frames them so perfectly.  

As previously mentioned, Whittle Mill is currently in Clintons stores across the UK, and will soon be sneaking into Tesco and WH Smith.

This post contains excerpts from a recent interview I did for Tuts+ which you can read here.


Phew...glad that's over

After a month long absence I'm finally back to get this blog back up and running.

Rather than enjoying the sun I've been frantically working on my website, portfolio and a few other promotional bits (that I'll post about on here in the coming weeks) in an attempt to break into the daunting world of freelance illustration.

So if you have a few minutes please stop by and let me know what you think...good or bad.  In time this blog will be altered to match my website and eventually they'll be integrated.

Until next time here's my newly created logo;
It represents the fact that I like to illustrate both cute and creepy subjects, and sometimes a combination of both.  It's based on the idea of the kind of creature that would hatch from this "Hybrid Egg" that I previously used as a placeholder image while the site was being built.  Pretty apt I guess!


Creative influence map

Loads more I wanted to include but decided to stick with the grid ‘rules’ on the bottom of the template instead.

I mainly included artists that have influenced my work and technique directly rather than just a bunch that I loved but didn’t consciously take anything from, hence no James Jean, Da Vinci or Watterson.

I'm always interested to find out the creative origins of artists I admire, so have been checking out a whole bunch of these things online lately.  A few highlights are those of Sam Nielson (surprising how similar my own influences are to his, unfortunately I left off Monkey Island but I haven't been able to draw clouds without including a spiral since playing MI3!), and Sebastien gallego.

Download the template file from the creator's DeviantArt page at and create your own.

Shane S

About the blog...

Good day!

I introduced myself in my previous post, so now it's time to formally introduce my new (and first) blog; Shane Made Art.

I've started this blog for three reasons;

1, To get my work out there
Nobody's going to see the fruits of my labour if it's just sat on my hard drive gathering digital dust. Plus, I have some interesting things planned and it'd be a shame if my Wife was the only person that got to see them!

2, To get involved
I've sat on the sidelines as a silent observer for a few years now, listening to podcasts, reading blogs and browsing forums. In the last year, with the rise of Twitter, the social networking aspect of being an artist has exploded to the point of becoming essential. So along with this blog I've also created a bunch of other profiles, accounts and galleries, all of which I intend to keep up to date and consistent with each other. There are some links in the sidebar and more will be added as I populate them with goodies. All of this is done with the intention of becoming a part of these blossoming communities, of which I'll list some of my favorites in a future post.

3, A fresh start
My previous online presence was a lowly DeviantArt gallery filled with a mish-mash of different styles, subjects and mediums, dating back to 2003. It was, to be honest, an inconsistent mess! I felt my ability and style had moved on to the point where I needed to leave it all behind and 'rebrand' as such. So all the art you'll find on this blog will be new. I'll look back on some of my old stuff with fond memories though, some of those pieces helped me to get into the industry after all.

So that's all the formalities taken care of....the next post will include some of my actual art! Are you excited? No? Not even a little bit? Well, I'll have to try to change that won't I...

Shane S

One small step for me...

...and one giant leap for

So this is it, my first foray into the wide world of social networking!

Like I do with most things, I'm jumping head first into this, which hopefully explains the basic look of the blog and current general lack of content. Don't worry, it's a work in progress.

So, what about me? Who, what, why where and when? Let's get started shall we?

Who? - My name is Shane Smith. Hi there.
What? - I'm an illustrator/artist/ideas man/imagineer - whatever you want me to be!
Why? - 'Cause I love drawing, painting, sculpting and all those kinds of lovely things, and I might as well do it for a living right?
Where? - I'm an in-house artist for a greetings card company in the UK.
When? - Like most artists you will ask, I've been drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil. I've been lucky enough to do it professionally, full-time, for the last three years and counting.

So that's about it for now. I'm sure we'll all get along swimmingly, after all, that's the whole point of these twitterbookblogfolio things right?

If you have a moment please feel free to visit my other net-nooks listed in the right hand panel.

Cheerio, see you next post (there'll be another one soon, I promise)!

Shane S